If you’re looking for a comprehensive guide on how to start a blogging business, then you’re in the right place. Here, we’ll be talking about the startup costs, the tasks required, and more.
Almost 2 years ago, I was making a full-time income as a freelance digital marketer. I was selling my services to business owners and enjoying the freedom of “working for myself”. I enjoyed serving my customers, but then, abruptly, I made the decision to put that to the side when my son became chronically ill. My husband was running our larger service-based business, so the rehab responsibilities were heavier on me. I knew I had to take care of him, and managing clients between doctors appointments became increasingly difficult.
At that time, my husband and I decided to go down to one income, and I began scouring the internet to find a way to use my skills to build an asset. I didn’t want to choose another business model (like freelance marketing) that required so much of a time and money exchange.
I had a blog with 140 posts that wasn’t bringing in the income I wanted, and the blogging business model seemed so confusing, but I decided to take it seriously and try to figure out how it worked! I researched alot and it took me awhile before I really “got it”. I’ve been blogging as a business now for 16 months and my case studies show my income is growing significantly now, which is very exciting! I plan to break down the business model for you in this post. Here, I’ll be answering the questions that most startup entrepreneurs want to know when they’re considering a blogging business. Questions like:
- What are the startup costs?
- What tools do you need?
- Who is the business right for?
- What is a typical day like?
- Who is the target market?
- What skills do you need?
- And so on…
If this sounds interesting to you, let’s get started…If you’d like to see this content in video form, check out the video series here:
- 1 What is a Blogging Business? An Overview
- 2 Who is a Blogging Business right for?
- 3 What’s a typical day in a Blogging Business like?
- 4 Who is the target market for a Blogging Business?
- 5 What is the growth potential in a Blogging Business?
- 6 What are the skills you’ll need to make a Blogging Business work?
- 7 What are the costs involved with a Blogging Business?
- 8 What are the steps involved in starting a Blogging Business?
- 9 Ready to Start Your Blogging Business?
What is a Blogging Business? An Overview
When you think of a blogger, you may think about professional bloggers like Pat Flynn, Paul Scrivs, Alex Nerney and Lauren Mcmanus, or Michelle Schroder Gardner. They seem to travel the world, make good money, have time and location freedom, and use a simple blog website to afford them a monthly income of $70,000+.
Alternatively, you might see bloggers like Jim and Ricky who create “passive income” niche sites that afford the same passive components of real estate, stock investing, or even long term investing in mutual funds! They set up the websites, add posts, and somehow, generate incomes of $3000 or more from one single site. When you have a few of those sites that needs very little maintenance, you can have a very lucrative income!
Then, to make things more confusing, you might see companies who talk about “content marketing”. They have a product or service (like maybe an accounting firm or medical practice) and they use content marketing to attract customers to their product or service.
There are different ways blogging is used to make businesses money. In summary, the blogging business can vary quite a bit. It can be:
- A very active endeavor or a more passive endeavor
- Run as a “side hustle” marketing strategy or run as a full blown Publishing business
- Started by a single person or a team, and scaled well into becoming a big business like New York Times or CNN!
The blogging business is good for:
- A person who wants to become a thought leader
- Someone who wants to translate ideas to others using the internet
- A person who enjoys creating content: written, audio, imagery, or video
- Someone who knows(or is willing to learn) how to persuade towards a cause or a purchase ethically
- Someone who knows (or is willing to learn) technical skills like how to use a content management system, how to create and deliver valuable content, how to attract people to their content, and how to monetize a blogging business
What’s a typical day in a Blogging Business like?
A typical say in the blogging business will vary based on the niche and audience demands. However, it’s common for bloggers who run their blogs as an active business endeavor (like a publishing company) to spend lots of time doing market research, planning content ideas, creating content in various types of mediums, distributing the content in various places, responding to customers comments and inquiries, and evaluating their engagement and audience analytic data.
I recommend blogging business owners to divide their schedules in four ways: acquiring the work, doing the work, managing the work, and strategizing about the work. Let me explain…
Acquiring the work: One of the most confusing parts for me to understand in the blogging business is how I would get my customers. My husband and I had started an offline business before, and I’d go door to door or meet people face to face to sell. In my marketing services business, I’d go to live events and network or respond to requests for proposal. With blogging, the businesses I saw didn’t do any of the “typical sales” activities, so it confused me so much!
If it’s confusing for you how bloggers get their customers, let me explain…
Bloggers do the “typical sales” activities, they simply use different mediums. Instead of physically going door to door, they create blog posts and distribute them in areas that would be common for people interested in the products, services, or causes they promote. They may write their content on their WordPress blog, then, they’ll distribute the content in the search engines, on social media, on Youtube, in podcasts, or even in offline settings.
In addition to acquiring work by writing content and presenting it to interested prospects, a blogging business may also acquire work from companies who can either sponsor content or pay them commissions for the sales of their products and services.
Doing the work: Interestingly, doing the work and acquiring the work can overlap in the blogging business since creating content is the basis for both. What you have to be careful of in the blogging business is thinking the two are synonymous though. Creating content is doing the work and distributing the content is acquiring the work.
In addition to creating content, blogging business owners may also:
- Create courses
- Create physical products
- Run memberships sites
- Design their websites
- Optimize their content for ranking
- Create ads
- Monitor ads
- Checking analytics and data
- Do graphic design for social media and other sources
- Record video or audio
- Make physical products
- Offer services
- Coordinate with affiliate managers
- Get training and education
- Manage their finances
- Manage legal affairs like sponsorship contracts or affiliate deals
- Coordinate joint ventures or participate in launches
- Respond to comments and complaints on multiple platforms
- Apply for affiliate networks or programs
- and more!
The blogging business can keep large teams very busy depending on the niche, the demand, and how seriously you decide to take it.
Managing the work: At some point, you may decide to hire like many professional bloggers do. They typically hire writers, graphic designers, video editors, virtual assistants, and other people to help manage the growing tasks that come along with audience growth.
Even before it’s time for you to hire, you’ll want to make sure to create training, so that hiring employees doesn’t slow down your productivity. Every task you do in your business should be put into a training module to ensure the people you hire can start working and not require complete downtime from you.
In addition to preparing for hiring, managing the work also includes systemizing your processes, managing your content, and making sure the same quality is produced time and time again.
Strategizing about the work: When you’re strategizing about the work, you’re doing your business plan, taking a look at the results you’re getting, deciding on how to reach your market better, how to reach the same market, and how to grow your business.
One thing that makes the blogging business have a large appeal is the fact that the business model can accommodate many different markets and niches. You can start a blogging business for people who are interested in hunting or outdoors, for fashion and hair, for causes and fundraising, or pretty much anything.
There are some blogging niches that have a harder time (like blogs that originate as journals or personal reflection or hobby blogs with very small demands), but in many instances, people can start blogs using the principles in this post, and grow them to surprisingly successful businesses with fairly low overhead costs.
What is the growth potential in a Blogging Business?
The business growth potential is nearly unheard of since there are many countries where it’s still uncommon for residents to have a personal computer. Also, the internet growth is massive with some countries growing at 14+% per year!
As a result, people who create blogging businesses that are very helpful and address high demand topics can expect to see massive audience growth and income as a result. In fact, there are blog income reports that show blogging businesses with low overhead costs reaching $100,000/mo by the 3-year mark and others who sustain high monthly incomes like that consistently for years. Check out my blog post with 20 blog income reports to see what I mean.
What are the skills you’ll need to make a Blogging Business work?
To make the blogging business work, you’ll need some of the following skills:
- Realistic Expectations
- Positive Thinking
- Work Ethic
Website Setup and WordPress Technical Basics
- Website Setup
- How to use WordPress
- Paid Ads
- Video Marketing
- Market Research
- Economics – Supplying what’s in Demand
- Professional Collaboration
- Social Media
Converting Traffic & Increasing User Engagement
- Email Marketing
- Reading and Applying Analytics Data
- Blog sponsorship
- Affiliate marketing
- Ad sales
- Selling services
- and, more…
Strategic Core Competencies that Enable Scaling
- Documenting processes
- Training writers and staff
You may not start out with all of these skills, but if you want to grow a blogging business, it’s helpful to pick at least one to develop from these categories of skills.
What are the costs involved with a Blogging Business?
One of the most appealing things about the blogging business is the potential of the low-cost startup. Starting a blogging business can be fairly inexpensive! You can technically start with a free domain and begin creating content on it, but if you’re serious about making it a business, it’s best to scale up from there to get tools like:
- A paid domain name – $20
- Website hosting – $359/year (with my #1 recommendation)
- A supportive community – Costs range from $359 – tens of thousands of dollars (included with hosting costs if you go with Wealthy Affiliate)
- Ongoing Education – Ongoing education is one of the hidden expenses of the blogging business (live weekly training and thousands of hours of training is included with membership when you go with Wealthy Affiliate) – $359 – thousands of dollars
- Data Storage – You’ll be creating lots of content so you’ll need somewhere safe to store your intellectual property – $30/yr (via GSuite)
- Graphic design software – $200/yr
- Email marketing software – $300/yr
- Conversion tools like pop-ups, optins, and landing pages – $300/yr (I recommend Thrive Themes and Elementor Pro)
- Aesthetics things for your website (logo, branding, themes, etc.) – $100
- Incorporation – $500
- Accounting software – $100/yr
- Tools to help you research the market and do the economics – ranging from free to $99/mo
- and possibly advertising which can range based on the audience and reach you’re trying to gain, but $500/mo or more is a good startup budget, and you’d want to be able to sustain it without a profit for 6 months or more
You could start your business on a free domain at Wealthy Affiliate, and get the education, training, and community as an all-in-one combination. Here’s how the two program plan options work:
They include quite a bit of the core tools you’ll need, then as you get sales or money to invest in your business, you can invest in the other things. Alternatively, you could check out other hosting options and blogging courses, and piece the other tools together, but I don’t recommend that for most people (especially if you’re just starting out).
What are the steps involved in starting a Blogging Business?
I recommend you set up your Minimum Viable Business first, then once you’ve got sales and confidence you can do this, then you get into the other steps like legal and accounting later. The steps to create a blogging business consists of:
1. Validate your Idea
First, you have to choose a niche or an audience you want to serve. You could choose to serve audiences based on lifestyle topics like parenting, religion, politics, personal development, personal finance, healthy lifestyle, or entrepreneurship (like I am), or you can choose an audience based on the methods of niche selection I share in my review of Authority Site System here.
In this phase where you’re verifying your idea is also where it’s common for entrepreneurs to discuss the idea with loved ones who can provide constructive feedback that helps make the idea more fitting to them.
2. Prioritize Your Business
Once you’ve decided what type of blog you want to start and you’re confident about the audience you’ll serve, then it’s time to move your schedule around to make room for your business. I described the tasks that are typically required of a blogging business owner, and the fact is, it takes time to build a business!
You may have to make some sacrifices to create the time your business will need. I had to move lots of things around as I became more and more serious about my business. Now that my son is 100% recovered, he goes to school during the day and my daughter goes to daycare so I can work. Added to that, I try to be more efficient at home management tasks so I can have extra time to work on my business when my kids are pre-occupied.
You’ll have to decide what to move around in your schedule to make room for the tasks in your business.
After you’ve made space in your schedule, then you have to consider how you’ll make a reputation for this newborn business. When starting out, no one will know it exists, and even though it’s on the internet and many myths exist out there, website visitors just don’t naturally show up.
You have to intentionally create a reputation for your brand. That includes creating a logo, color palette, mission statement, planning your customer journey, and deciding on your unique selling proposition. I know all of that may sound very complex, but I break it down into simple terms when you join the Wealthy Affiliate annual membership. I have a full course on creating your branding system you can check out and learn more about how to set all these things up. Plus, I can coach you along the way free for 7 days when you sign up here.
4. Start Getting Leads and Traffic
Once you’ve built your branding, then it’s time to start getting leads and traffic. In a blogging business, this means you need to set up your website, start identifying content topics that are in demand, and begin creating helpful content for your readers. In addition to creating helpful content, you’ll also need to distribute the content where the audience is demanding it.
5. Convert the Traffic into Customers
Once you’re getting traffic to your website and interest, then you have to decide how you’ll convert the traffic into paying customers. Bloggers do this in multiple ways, but these are some common methods for converting website traffic: from prospects to buyers…
- Adding hyperlinks into the website content
- Adding banners or image ads onto the website content
- Placing email optins and introducing products and services to customers by email
- Thru webinars
- They place popups that direct visitors to certain conversion goals
- By adding a contact form or booking calendar on their website
- By having a phone number on their website
- Or, by having live chat or chatbots on their website
You may decide to move this step around a bit, but I’ve placed it at #6 in hopes that by this time you would have had sufficient time to decide if you like doing this business or not–it’s not for everyone. Some people may decide they prefer another business model or even a job, and that’s okay.
When you incorporate, it comes along with pros and cons. As a pro, you get tax breaks and legal liability protection. As a con, if you decide you don’t like the business or you don’t want to commit, you could have to do dissolution.
I always advise entrepreneurs to form the business legally once they know it’s the path they want to take, and when you’re ready, I recommend Swyft Filings. They’re a legal service that will help you decide which business structure is appropriate for you, help you decide on a start to incorporate in, they’ll do the legal incorporation paperwork for you, and they’ll also file the paperwork with their money back guarantee. They’re very affordable and give you the peace of mind that you’re business incorporation paperwork has been done right. You can check out Swyft Filings here.
7. Organize Your Books
In a blogging business, you’ll have expenses (like any other business), and we discussed some of those above. You want to keep track of how much money you’re investing in your business and how much income is coming into your business, so you can stay compliant with government regulations and taxes. Either Quickbooks or Freshbooks are good options for tracking your income and expenses in a blogging business. I prefer Freshbooks for this business model because of the ease of use, but you can try both for free. Create your free trial account with Freshbooks here or create your free trial account with Quickbooks here.
Choose whichever is easiest for you!
8. Get Your Office Supplies
While blogging can be done from any location in the world, most bloggers find that they like a regimen of some sort. A regimen helps to protect your productivity. A large part of establishing a sound regimen is establishing a work environment and putting the right supplies in place, so you can perform the work you do.
One office supply that often sneaks up on bloggers is data storage, so make sure not to miss out on that one! I recommend GSuite for their collaboration documents and cloud storage. You can check out my review of GSuite here.
Also, if you’re a travel blogger or a person who simply like to keep business and personal life separate, it might be very helpful to have a separate business phone line and mailing address. I do. Sasquatch Mail will give you a business mailing address, scan all your paper mail for you to view virtually from anywhere, and they’ll forward any packages to your mailing address.
EVoice will give you a VOIP phone line that you can answer from your phone, computer, or any other device. This will enable you to maintain your business contacts and professionalism regardless of your location in the world.
- 23 Best Home Office Supplies Every Entrepreneur Needs
- GSuite Review
- EVoice Review
- Sasquatch Mail Review
Over time, you’ll get “your groove”. You’ll know how you like to write each post, a general template for your content, a general schedule, and other task management regimens. You want to systemize your business as much as possible so it’s scalable, and you don’t get stuck treating your business like a job you can’t get away from. At some point, everyone needs a day off, wants to retire, or wants to get some help, so it’s important to create systems and training, so you can scale.
9. Reinvest and Scale
Don’t be like many bloggers I’ve seen! They get their income from blogging and quickly spend it on personal bills, upgrading their clothes, or new purses, and they don’t leave money for operating expenses, working capital, and growth! As a growing business, you’ll need money. When you get your blogging income, make sure to reinvest for things like:
- Events and Networking groups
- And other tools and opportunities to scale and grow
Ready to Start Your Blogging Business?
Overall, this article was meant to show you how to start a blogging business. I know it gave alot of information, but I’m hoping it was actionable for you, and that you’ll come back from time to time to review this and stay on track.
I explain all of these concepts in much more detail in my free Business Growth Blueprint E-course and my full video course on creating your full minimum viable business plan at Wealthy Affliate. You can get access to my e-course and all of my free bonuses by signing up here. You’ll also get 7 free days of coaching with me, 10 lessons of internet marketing training, and two free websites you can try out for free. Let’s get started building your Blogging Business!